Tena’s frank and funny campaign shows unspoken realities of menopause
Tena and AMV BBDO have revealed the heart-warming and humorous ad campaign that won it the £1m Diversity in Advertising Awards from Channel 4. The brand’s CMO and agency creatives reveal their thinking behind the work.
Tena’s frank and funny new campaign focuses on the relationship between a daughter and her mother as she navigates the menopause. It’s an unusual treatment, but agency AMV BBDO developed the concept armed with a “horrifying” statistic that over 80% of women will rarely talk to their own mothers about the experience.
“We know that the conversation is not there today – at work, at home or with your kids,” says Meta Redstedt, the global master brand and communications director at Tena.
“Women normally never talk with their mum about the menopause. And we know from the statistics that if women are better prepared, they will suffer less from the symptoms and feel better about the whole thing. So we wanted to have an inter-generation conversion that women could identify with.”
The spot also leans into the idea that menopause is often spoken about as puberty in reverse. But while teenagers are told it’s a time of becoming a woman, women going through the menopause have been led to believe by society and the media that it’s the end of their life.
“It was so important not to make it seem like the end, which is how it had been portrayed for so long,” says Laura Hazzell, the board account director at AMV. “Liberation is something we heard a lot in focus groups – that women felt great when they finished. So we really wanted to portray the highs and lows.”
Hazzell worked alongside AMV creative Lauren Peters and Augustine Cerf as well as director Shannon Murphy on the brief. Importantly, she says, they didn’t want to sugar-coat it. Nor did they want to catastrophize. Instead, the film shows the painfully relatable moments that might encompass a woman’s experience of the menopause, from rogue chin hairs and night sweats to hormonal rage, lube-fueled intimacy and bladder weakness.
Incidentally, it’s also one of the only ads about bladder weakness to actually show urine on screen.
“We were so clear from talking to women that humor was one of the ways of dealing with it,” says Redstedt.
“Humor helps make it easier to talk about and open up and feel confident. We didn’t want to do it in a way where we made fun of women – there’s a really fine balance. We did research where it was really clear when we could show humor and when we couldn’t. But we thought – what if women could look forward to this time in their life, not just resent it? Because there’s a lot of good things that come out of it, like becoming a much more confident woman.”
The advert won Channel 4’s Diversity in Advertising Award, which offers £1m worth of commercial airtime across the entire portfolio of channels in Channel 4’s commercial arm 4Sales, including its streaming service All 4.
Other entries this year included Eve Sleep and Creature London, which were highly commended by the judges. Runners up included Hidden Hearing (The Sharp Agency), Baileys (VMLY&R), Shelter (Who Wot Why) and Boots (VML Y&R). All five runners up will be offered match funding of up to £250,000 each to encourage the pitched campaigns into production.
For the first time this year Channel 4 has also extended its award to offer branded content funding. 4Studio Productions has created £100,000 worth of short form films for Tena which will be used across social media. Acknowledging that a lot of women don’t have a mother or daughter in their life, the additional series will show women in honest and funny conversations with other friends and family.
There will also be an ’Infrequently Asked Questions’ guide available on the Tena Women website for download, which encourages its readers to ask better – and more – questions about the menopause and shows the value of doing so.
Countering the dry, clinical information typically brought up by any internet search on the topic, it features words of wisdom gathered from women who have been through the menopause, as well as the advice and tips they wish to pass down to those yet to live through it.